Appeal over plans to double size of Norfolk village could be heard by the High Court

Pictured is David Powers. Picture: Ian Burt

Pictured is David Powers. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Uncertainty continues to surround fiercely-opposed plans to double the size of a village, near Fakenham, as an appeal lodged by the developer could soon be heard by the High Court.

Large boards throughout Sculthorpe display the 'say no to Indigo' slogan. Picture: Steve Shaw

Large boards throughout Sculthorpe display the 'say no to Indigo' slogan. Picture: Steve Shaw - Credit: Archant

Plans to build 200 homes and a school in the centre of Sculthorpe were submitted by Indigo Planning on behalf of land owners, the Amstel Group Corporation, in 2015.

Indigo said the development would help ease north Norfolk’s housing crisis and allow a larger village school to be built.

However, residents have been campaigning against the proposals claiming the development is far too big for the village.

Their objections have been supported by the North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and in 2016 the planning application was rejected when councillors heard that the scheme was not sustainable.

Tom FitzPatrick. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Tom FitzPatrick. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

In June of that year, Indigo lodged an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate but a government inspector sided with NNDC and dismissed the appeal in July 2017.

But Indigo is not ready to give up and on February 27 they will take the issue to the High Court to determine whether legal errors were made by the planning inspector.

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A spokesman for NNDC said: “This means the developer has gone to the High Court and is arguing the inspector made errors in law when he reached his decision.

“It is down to the courts to determine if the inspector followed due process, highlighted the appropriate issues and attached the right weight to those issues when reaching the decision.

“If it is found that the inspector had made errors in the decision then it will be referred back to the Secretary of State, a new inspector will be assigned and a new public inquiry will be held, disregarding that first decision.”

Councillor Tom FitzPatrick, leader of NNDC, said: “We believe the inspector handled this properly and considered the local plan, the five year plan and local planning policy so we are asking that they are not granted the right to appeal.”

A past investigation by this newspaper found that Amstel is registered in the British Virgin Island of Tortola but no further information about the company could be found.

Indigo Planning was contacted about the proposal but did not respond in time for this report.

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